I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus’ call to follow Him changed the status of the disciples. Fundamentally they were changed from being of the world to not of the world. They were called out of the world, but they were no longer of the world.
Even as Jesus was ‘not of this world,’ so His disciples were not of it.
The Mission of Jesus does this, as does His ‘sanctifying work’ for us. The Mission that followers of Jesus have is into the world. To reach the world you cannot be of the world. To be of the world would mean that you still need to be reached!
Reached people are sanctified through the Word and their relationship with Jesus, which fundamentally changes them from being of the world to not. This is done to bring glory to God AND to send them back into the world on Mission, which is what Jesus does.
Jesus says here and again in John 20 (post death) that just as the Father had sent Him into the world, He was sending His disciples. Jesus was God in the flesh. His disciples are Jesus in the flesh… on Mission with the message of God’s grace and love for people. Awesome.
Jesus’ prayer for His disciples is not that they’d be removed from the world because that’s where He is sending them! His prayer is that while on Mission in the world they would be protected from the evil one. The Mission is a battle against the status quo. Satan, who has a solid grip on the world, wants to keep people in sin and separated from God Almighty. The Mission is a war-front and those who follow Jesus need protection.
We need protection from temptation, discouragement and all of the things that this world brings that take our focus off of Jesus and dampens our love and enthusiasm for Him. This protection is what Jesus prays for His disciples.
Lord Jesus, You said that in this world we will have trouble, but that we should take heart because You have overcome the world! (John 16:33). Thank You for being victorious! Thank You for removing my sin and sending me into this world You love with the most awesome message. Thank You for Your sanctifying work in my life and the protection You provide by Your Spirit. Thank You for hearing the prayers of Your people. Receive glory through me today!